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Utah football notebook: Utah's Dennis Erickson, USC's Ed Orgeron are friends

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 23 2013 9:25 p.m. MDT

Southern California interim head coach Ed Orgeron, left, shakes hands with Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly prior to the beginning of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond) (Joe Raymond, AP) Southern California interim head coach Ed Orgeron, left, shakes hands with Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly prior to the beginning of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 19, 2013, in South Bend, Ind. (AP Photo/Joe Raymond) (Joe Raymond, AP)

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah co-offensive coordinator Dennis Erickson and USC interim head coach Ed Orgeron go back, way back. They worked together at Miami (Fla.) from 1989-92 and won a pair of national championships (1989, 1991). Oregeron was a graduate assistant when Erickson was hired to coach the Hurricanes and then became the defensive line coach.

“We’ve been friends since that time. We don’t talk a lot, but I visit with him quite often,” Erickson said. “He’s a good man; he’s a good coach; and he’s a ragin’ Cajun.”

The coaches share mutual respect. Earlier in the week, Orgeron called Erickson “a tremendous football coach.”

Orgeron, who is 1-1 at the helm since replacing the fired Lane Kiffin, faces an uncertain future with the Trojans after this season.

FILE - In this Aug. 29, 2013, file photo, Utah co-offensive coordinator Dennis Erickson waits for the team's NCAA college football game against Utah State in Salt Lake City. No one needs to remind Utah not to overlook Weber State. Eastern Washington offered evidence of what a Big Sky team can do to a Pac-12 team after upsetting then-No. 25 Oregon State last Saturday. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File) (Rick Bowmer, AP) FILE - In this Aug. 29, 2013, file photo, Utah co-offensive coordinator Dennis Erickson waits for the team's NCAA college football game against Utah State in Salt Lake City. No one needs to remind Utah not to overlook Weber State. Eastern Washington offered evidence of what a Big Sky team can do to a Pac-12 team after upsetting then-No. 25 Oregon State last Saturday. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File) (Rick Bowmer, AP)

“I hope he has an opportunity to maybe get that job,” Erickson said.

PREPARING WELL: Whittingham is pleased with the progress the Utes are making in preparation for Saturday’s game.

“We’ve had two good days now — back to back,” he said. “The attitude is very positive and it needs to be. So we’re on track, so far, this week.”

WILSON UPDATE: Utah quarterback Travis Wilson had another productive practice while wearing a protective glove over his injured throwing hand, which includes a sprained index finger.

“It’s good. It’s getting better,” he said. “It felt a lot better than it did yesterday and every day I think it will progressively get better as well."

Southern California interim head coach Ed Orgeron, left, talks to defensive end Leonard Williams, center, and linebacker Quinton Powell during the second half of their NCAA college football game against Arizona, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013, in Los Angeles. USC won 38-31. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)  (Mark J. Terrill, AP) Southern California interim head coach Ed Orgeron, left, talks to defensive end Leonard Williams, center, and linebacker Quinton Powell during the second half of their NCAA college football game against Arizona, Thursday, Oct. 10, 2013, in Los Angeles. USC won 38-31. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill) (Mark J. Terrill, AP)

Whittingham also likes what he’s seeing out of the sophomore, who left last Saturday’s 35-24 loss at Arizona just before halftime and did not return because of an inability to grip the football.

“He threw better than yesterday and so if we get the same progress the next couple of days we should be 100 percent by Saturday,” said Whittingham, who added "that’s what is hoped for.”

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